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tv   News  Al Jazeera  December 16, 2014 9:00am-9:31am EST

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taliban gunmen attack a school in pakistan. 130 are dead, most of them children. ♪ hello, i'm david foster, you are watching al jazeera, live from doha. also coming up, australia remembers after the cafe siege. >> the tragedy of these times is that they are a our people, even in a society such as ours, which wish to do us harm. and moscow pushes interest rates to 17% to try to protect
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the ruble, but the russian currency is still plummeting. ♪ pakistani taliban siege of a school is over. the army has killed the last gunmen, but more than 130 people lost their lives in the process, and at least 80, possibly more, were children. the prime minister has arrived in the city. he says there will be three days of national mourning. >> reporter: it has been a few months since the pakistani taliban has launched an attack as severe as this. >> translator: the firing started suddenly. we ran towards our classes. there were six or seven attackers, and they were entering the classrooms and
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shooting students one by one. >> reporter: the army public school is run by the military. it has around 500 students and teachers. >> translator: we strongly condone what has happened. the people who did this have no religion. they don't have a heart. never in the history of war fair have children been targeted. >> reporter: a spokesman for the pakistani taliban said: he explained that the attack has been launched in revenge for the military's operation in the north. this offensive started six months ago. the army says it wants to defeat the pakistani taliban in this remote region. it says it has killed more than 1800 fighters and destroys camps and weapons stores. the last major operation by the taliban was the airport attack in june. 36 people were killed, including ten militants.
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many in pakistan has feared a tall ban attack, worried that there would be a blow back from the operation. for weeks large cities like islamabad had increased security, preparing for something like this. but few thought the taliban would target a school, early in the morning, while it is packed with children. >> our correspondent joins us on the phone for more. now you are in the city. it has taken you many hours get there, and you have been updating us on your way, now that you have arrived in the city, what have you discovered. okay. well, let's try to get back in touch with our correspondent just a little bit later. we're going to bring back a political analyst joining us from islamabad. when we spoke to you earlier on, you were finding it incredibly emotional, please don't be
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embarrassed if the same things happening during this. but i would like you to try to express what many people have described as the national mood here. the prime minister having called this a national tragedy. >> yeah, it's again, obviously there's a lot of sadness, there's a lot of anger as well. but it was interesting to note the sort of the immediate -- the prime minister going to the city, the army city heading to the city. they have called for an all-parties conference tomorrow. i think one of the problems in pakistan has been there has been sort of a haphazard and half hearted attempt to tackle violent extremism. this is a country with a deep and come met relationship to faith in the public sphere, and
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a lot of politicians have struggled with that. and because of that struggle, new challenges have kept emerging. we have had the decentering of the blasphemy law as a major point of reference in our culture, where you can use the blasphemy law at anytime to settle scores and have people killed. that's one example of a broader core relationship with violent extremism, that emanates from religious faith that has become now, i mean with this attack -- and obviously just the horrifying images and -- you don't even need an image just -- i have three kids, all day all i could think, and all i'm thinking now is the parents standing outside hoping that their kids were going to be okay. this is a human emotion that probably is not exclusive to us to pakistan. yesterday the whole world was paralyzed by what happened in
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sydney and thankful there was only two people killed, and even that was tragic. but just the numbers here and -- and the targets -- um -- so a lot of people are saying if this doesn't -- if this doesn't jolt us out of the kind of confusion, national confusion and -- and an inability to come together, maybe nothing will. and of course, as i expressed earlier the fear is that there has been so many horrifying attacks, a lot of people are really nervous whether -- whether -- whether this will be the thing that sets the ball rolling. >> millions of parents understandably terrified of sending their children to school in the morning. if what we have seen so far in your opinion has been half hearthed, the attempts to tackle the problem, what would it take for a whole hearted approach?
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>> look, i think -- you know, there have been -- there have been moments where there's been a really big push. sew we had the operation in 2009 which was targeting sa watts specifically. sawatt is inland as opposed to the tribal regions which have always had a conflicted relationship constitutionally with the country. but that operation happened and the military sort of did its job, but the capacity of civilian administrators and leaders -- and social leaders, the capacity of the culture at large to construct a counter dialogue to the destructive behavior that drives this. there is an operation that is being cited as the reason for
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why this might be happening, that this is part of some blowback, first of all in normtive frame, we have to reject that entirely. there is no frame of rationality that has justified this attack. >> okay. i have to stop you there. we had to go to you on short notice because our phone connection with kamil wasn't very good, but he is back in line. i was saying to you, you spent hours driving up there. now you are there in the city. what kind of city are you finding? >> reporter: well, at the location right now, it is dark. we can see the military vehicles moving ambulances as well, but the operation is over, the gunfire has died down.
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it is a somber mood. the traffic is flowing as normal. but they have stepped up security, some roads have been seized and most of the [ inaudible ] are in the hospital, in an emergency situation. we will be going to the hospital soon as well, but as i state, we can see not much from where we are, where the major is, and it's pitch dark. the compound where the school is situated, separated just by about a few hundred, less than a few hundred meters. so [ inaudible ] exactly what is happening inside, but the military is saying that they have completed their mop up, they were concerned about improvised explosive devices and booby traps, but we can now say confidently that the operation is over indeed. >> and with that, i guess we can get pretty accurate casualty
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figures. we have been reporting around 130 dead, and maybe 80 of those were children. what can you tell us? >> well, most of the victims were indeed children. the security forces have not yet given the numbers of the security forces killed in this operation. but they said they rightly -- most of them that were killed today was children. according to eyewitnesss, the gunmen entered into the classrooms, killing the students with gunfire. so it was indeed a tragedy that many people are still coming to grips with. >> we'll leave you to get on with the reporting that you will do so well for us. now at the scene of the terrible massacre of the army school there, or the school run by the army, at least where we understand, and kamil confirming that the majority of the
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130-plus victim fatalities were in fact children. well, pakistan's neighbor and arch rifle has condemned the attack on the school. the prime minister wrote: australia's prime minister has described the siege in sydney that left three people dead as a quote, appalling and ugly incident on a day that australia was touched by terrorism. andrew thomas has more. >> reporter: for 16 hours, it had been the scene of a siege. on tuesday morning, it became the backdrop to an impromptu memorial to the two hostages who
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died. this was the manager of the coffee shop targeted. the other victim was bah rees ta and mother of three. >> it is a very sad day for sydney. i'm the same age as she was. i have one child. i just found that very difficult. >> reporter: people started to lay flowers early on tuesday morning and kept coming all day. demand was so high flower shops began to run out. could this brazen siege have been prevented. the hostage taker killed when police moved in was well-known to authorities. he had been convicted of sending hate mail to the familiar list of soldiers killed in afghanistan, his final appeal
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against that verdict failed last friday. [ technical difficulties ] >> there is a real sense among
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people here that sydney changed over the course of this siege, that the city's innocents was lost. spanish and moroccan police say they have arrested some suspected members of a terrorist group. our correspondent has more. >> reporter: in total seven people were detained both here in morocco and across the border in spain. according to a statement issued by the minister of interior, the two leaders were arrested in one town, and more people were arrested in other cities. most of the people detained were females and apparently, according to the statement their role was to recruit women that would go to join isil in syria and/or iraq either to marry fighters or carry out suicide attacks on the front line this.
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now this is not the first time that such cells are dismantled. and that has to do a lot with the special status of two towns. they are spanish enclaves on moroccan territories. some people refer to them as europe land border with africa. the people that live there have spanish pass ports it's very easy for them to go into syria. there is an estimated 5,200 moroccan fighters who have joined the battlefield, and the majority of them are thought to be from those two towns. >> that's the news from morocco and spain. french special forces say they have arrested ten people they believe were on their way to join isil in syria and iraq.
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an 18-month investigation ended with arrests in the towns. police say they successfully broke up a recruiting organization. john kerry is going to meet the palestinian authority chief negotiator in london. this is a day after the israeli prime minister called on the u.s. to block efforts on palestinian statehood. the palestinian president has put fort a request calling for withdraw of the occupation by 2017. jordan circulated the resolution. israeli forces have shot dead a 21-year-old palestinian during a military operation in the refugee camp south of
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ramallah. israeli forces raided the camp in the occupied west bank and confrontations broke out between the israeli army and youths there. still to come on this program here on al jazeera, laws to break through the glass ceiling, the u.k. insisting on transparency over pay rates for men and women. ♪ [ cheers ]
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♪ you are with al jazeera, time to run through the global headlines this hour. starting with the gunmen from the pakistani taliban attack a
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school in peshawar in the northwest of the country, killing more than 130, and at least 80, we understand were children. the six gunmen have been killed. the army says it is now searching the premises for explosives. tony abbott paid tribute to the victims of the siege at a cafe in sen central sydney. the russian ruble has hit a new record low, despite the central bank raising interest rates to a co loss sal 17%. the ruble is down even further in the last few hours, at least another 8%. trading at about 75 ruble to the dollar. here is the view from the senior strategy in london.
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>> they really have gone for very desperate measures last night in hiking interest rates to 17%. of course we know the economy can't sustain interest rates that high for that long, so what they are hoping for is stability in the ruble quite soon, and hopefully in the next few monks or weeks, they will be able to start reducing the interest rates. what they are trying to do by hoping to stabilize the ruble now, they are trying to avoid a worsening financial crisis for the country. of course we fwhoe about the sanctions on russia, related to the situation in ukraine, and also of course counter sanctions as a consequence on that, as a consequence of the food ban, we see food prices at really high levels. so they are trying to stabilize the ruble, stabilize inflation, and bring some calm into the
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economy. but it has been like a perfect storm, the russian economy was slowing in 2013 before the ukrainian situation anyway, and now we have this drastic reduction in oil prices. and it is really hitting producing countries hard. turkey's president has dismissed out of hand criticism from the european union about a crackdown in his country on the media. he says the e.u. shouldn't get involved. hundreds of people gathered in istanbul. on sunday more than 20 were arrested in a nation wise swoop. >> translator: the european union should not seek the authority to intervene in turkey on elements that threaten our national security. there has been a sharp rise
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in the number of journalists that have been kidnapped. 19 have been held captive in the last 12 months. most in the middle east and north africa. here are the most dangerous places to be work as a journalist: three journalists have beguned down in libya. journalists working in pakistan are caught between local armed groups and the army and face frequent taliban bombs. donetsk and luhansk. hostage taking and arbitrary arrests seemed to have lessened a little bit. and columbia is a dangerous
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place to be. journalists are kidnapped and often murdered often without impunity. i asked why the wider public should care about journalists? >> well, the public should care about that, because we are not defending journalists because they are journalists. their life is not more worth than any life. but journalists when they are reporting the news and trying to cover what is happening, they are playing a social role. they are doing something that is important for the public interest, for the general interest. if no one is here to denounce abuses, if no one is here to hold those in power accountable, then people don't know exactly what is happening in their country, and there cannot be any sort of action taken against abuse, not only freedom of information, but human rights
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generally speaking. >> i must ask you about what is happening in turkey. we have seen crack downs on what many people regard as the liberal media there. where does something like that end? this >> well, turkey used to be one of the biggest [ inaudible ] of journalists several years ago. they have released several journalists but most are under a provisional release, so they can come back to jail. but i think the country understood that it was really getting a bad image on the international scene, if you are, you know, one of the biggest jailers of journalists, and the latest crackdown on media analysts in turkey is not a very big surprise to us. because we were very concerned that those could go back to jail and others could go to jail, because the turkish authorities have really strengthened their grip on the media these past
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months. this arrest of several journalists and the pressure on the media comes just about a year -- it's the year -- the one-year anniversary of the [ inaudible ] corruption on the high level of administration in turkey. and we believe there's a link between this new media crackdown on a sensitive topic that the t tur -- tushish authorities. we here at al jazeera continue to demand the release of our three journalists in jail in egypt. peter greste, mohammed fahmy, and baher mohamed were jailed on charging of helping the outlawed muslim brotherhood. they have launched appeals against the convictions. politicians in the u.k. are to vote on a law which will force companies to publish what
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they pay men and women. it is designed to reduce wage inequality. >> reporter: despite over 40 years of equal rights legislation, there are still huge discrepancies in what men and women get paid for doing the same job. in many companies women learn thousands less than men. that outraged a women's magazine editor, who started a petition to change the law. >> one woman wrote in and found out a colleague who was doing exactly the same job as her was paid 9,000 pounds more than her. and to make matters worse, at the end of that year, while he got a 2 thousand pound bonus, she was given a hundred pounds of shopping vouchers. >> reporter: the scale of the so-called pay gap says that on
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average women earn 23% less than men. it gets even less for women over 40, all of which means if a woman in the u.k. wants to earn as much as her male equivalent she will need to work until she is 80 years old. the new law will force every company with 250 workers to publish their rates of pay. >> it's not just a women's issue, because no dad or husband or brother wants to see their loved one paid less than what they deserve. so if you shine a light on it, then you can hope to put it right. >> reporter: pricewaterhousecoopers is already doing it. it's complicated to fix, but for them it is simply good business. >> there are not enough women in senior positions, or women are in certain positions and not others. if you are only picking from half of the population, that is
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killing our business sense, isn't it? maternity leave. but the hope is the new law will force new companies to take a long hard look at their own pay gaps and start working to fix them. simon mcgregorwood wood al jazeera, london. and now fifa's president is rejecting the demand of information released from his world cup bids report. he investigated allegations of corruption into the 2018 world cup to russia, and the 2022 event to qatar. he was unhappy at the statement given by the independent judge, calling it, quote, materially incomplete. fifa says the statement wasn't legally binding so there can be no appeal. the former national striker announced his retirement from football at the age of 37.
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he was part of the france teams that won the '98 world cup, and the 2000 european championships and he is france's all-time leading scorer. take a look at the website, you can get all of the news and sport there, that's pretty good when you were filling up your tank over the weekend with gas at prices you haven't seen since the country emerged from the recession. is this a silver cloud with a dark lining? it's "inside story." ♪ ♪ hello, i am ray suarez.